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North Adams to Get 2 Additional Police Officers

Staff Reports

North Adams will soon have two additional full-time police officers, to be sworn in on Tuesday, April 13, at the City Council meeting.

According to an announcement issued by the office of Mayor Richard Alcombright, the move is "yet another step towards assuring that this new administration will continue to support law enforcement efforts with the end result being a safer community."

Other recent efforts to reduce crime include the development of a Neighborhood Crime Watch Program, which currently is underway with watch groups forming citywide.

Despite a "tight budget," Alcombright credited Commissioner of Public Safety E. John Morocco for his "creative methods that will allow this community to afford the new officers." According to the mayor's office, the city will use a state 911 grant to pay dispatchers' salaries, freeing up money in the budget for police salaries.

Commissioner Morocco stated that “while more police does not necessarily translate into an immediate reduction in crime, feet on the street are a very important to be certain that all shifts are properly staffed and that police can respond quickly and efficiently when multiple calls are being handled.”

Looking ahead, Alcombright said he hopes to implement methods of community policing, such as putting put police on bicycles and in neighborhoods this summer.

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North Adams Woman Killed in 91 Crash

Staff Reports

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A 34-year-old city woman was killed, and three other people were injured Friday morning, March 26, in a two-car crash on Route 91 in Longmeadow.

Tracy Gomez was driving a 2000 Hyundai Sonata southbound shortly before 10 a.m. when she apparently tried to turn left from the far right lane to use the median turnaround at the .8 mile marker, according to state police from the Springfield barracks.

Her driver's side door was struck by a 1996 GMC Jimmy being operated by 69-year-old Karl Johnson Sr. of West Suffield, Conn., that was traveling in the left lane adjacent to the median, according a preliminary investigation by Trooper Christopher Keyes.

Gomez was pronounced dead at the scene. Her passenger, 66-year-old Stephen Bowen of Springfield, was extricated from the vehicle and transported to Baystate Hospital in Springfield with serious injuries. The passenger of the Jimmy, 50-year-old Karl Johnson Jr. of West Suffield, and his father were taken to Baystate Hospital with serious injuries as well.

The accident was reported at 9:56 a.m. The left and middle travel lanes were closed for approximately two hours during the crash investigation.

The crash is under investigation by Troop B with the assistance of the Crime Scene Services Section, Collision Analysis Reconstruction Section and troopers from the Hampden County district attorney's office.

Troopers were additionally assisted at the scene by the Longmeadow Fire Department, AMR ambulance service, and MassHighway.

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Neighborhood Crime Watch Seeks a Young Artist to Design Logo

Staff Reports

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The North Adams Neighborhood Crime Watch seeks the participation of North Adams youth, not only at its meetings, but as a creative force.

The crime watch is soliciting logo designs for its program, and the winning designer will receive $100. The contest is open to students in grades six through 12 who reside in North Adams. The drawing/logo that will be chosen will be used on all Neighborhood Watch t-shirts, stickers and letterhead. It is important to think about using mediums that will transfer well into a logo or design that can be printed easily; thinking "outside of the box" is encouraged.

All drawings should be submitted on a standard white sheet of paper by April 10, 2010 and sent c/o NW Art, nbCC, 61 Main St., North Adams, MA 01247. Write your name, address and telephone number in black ink on the back of the submission.

The crime watch is a collaboration of the City of North Adams, North Adams Police Department and Northern Berkshire Community Coalition; it  has 17 captains throughout the city who are volunteering to help organize their neighborhood and make it a safer place to live by simply connecting and communicating with their neighbors.

For more information, contact Ashley Benson at 413-663-7588. 

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North Adams Neighborhood Watch Captains' Meeting

North Adams Neighborhood Watch

The revitalized city Neighborhood Watch program will hold its first block captains' meeting on Thursday, Feb. 18, at 6 p.m. at 61 Main St. in Suite 218. The meeting's being hosted by the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition, Police Department and City Hall.

This meeting has been called in response to the heightened community concern about neighborhood crime and in follow up to the citywide Neighborhood Watch meeting held last Thursday. Anyone interested in being a neighborhood leader and liaison to the Neighborhood Watch Team is encouraged to attend. The captains' meeting will include a discussion of the breakdown of neighborhood areas, organization of neighborhood watch meetings and community communication. 

Organizers say the expectation is that from this meeting, captains can return to their communities and begin the implementation of neighborhood watch in their designated areas. 

It is important that as many neighborhoods as possible participate and have neighborhood leadership in this community initiative. Call Ashley Benson at the Coalition at 413-663-7588 with questions or if you are considering participating. The meeting is open to the public.

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Crime Watch Page Created for North Adams

Staff Reports

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — There's a new crime watch page on Facebook for city residents.

The page was created by Jennifer Breen Kirsch, a local attorney who's become active in crime prevention after her parents' home was broken into days after Christmas. Kirsch, working with the city and local organizations, has spearheaded the community watch group.

The community effort has been prompted by a wave of break-ins that came to public attention last fall after a number of break-ins in Clarksburg and Stamford, Vt. A suspect believed to be the culprit in the majority of them — and dozens of others through Berkshire and Bennington (Vt.) County — was arrested and charged. However, several of those burglaries have not be resolved and numerous others have occurred in Williamstown, North Adams, Adams and Cheshire over recent months.

North Adams held a community meeting on Thursday night at City Hall to discuss crime and neighborhood action to prevent it.

The new Facebook page states:

Please join the new Neighborhood Crime Watch Group sponsored by Mayor Dick Alcombright, the NAPD through Officer Mark Bailey and Commissioner E. John Morocco, community representative Jenn Kirsch, and the NBCC, through Ashley Benson and Al Bashevkin. To find out more, please post questions and we will quickly reply. Our goal is to reduce the crime rate, as a community, in conjunction with City Hall and the NAPD. We need volunteers and neighborhood captains to run meetings. If you are interested, Officer Bailey, along with members of the team, will conduct a meeting for you and your neighbors, at your home. Let's unite under this common goal to reduce crime in our city!


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